Cream of Cholesterol Soup (Broccoli optional)

Well we're home from vacation. Within 15 minutes it was like we never left: every light on in the house, kitchen counters buried under clutter, socks strewn about, and people needing to be fed. So back to DeCicco's I went to shop for the week in general, and for dinner in particular.  

Jeeps requested cream of broccoli soup and I was game. I'd never made a true cream of broccoli soup before. My tried-and-true resource for new soups is Mary Gubser. My mom gave me her great book Mary's Bread Basket & Soup Kettle which, as the title suggests, contains nothing but soup and bread recipes. It's unquestionably one of my desert island books.

So the recipe looks straightforward but a little... Well, let's say it's not for the faint of heart. In fact you might need permission from your cardiologist before consuming it, which guarantees it to be good.

Mary Gubser's Cream of Broccoli Soup

  • 1 quart fresh broccoli heads, packed (I really had no idea what she meant by this. A quart of broccoli? I used four big broccoli crowns)
  • 2/3 cup butter (2/3 cup butter?!? A stick is 1/2 cup!! I love butter from hell to breakfast and ten ways to Sunday, but I could not make a soup with more than a stick of butter in it. I used half a stick and a generous amount of olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 cups whole milk (yes, whole, and the heavy cream is yet to come!)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper (this happens to be one of the far-fetched things I keep in the house. I'm partial to a Christmas spice cookie that's made with white pepper, and in the course of making it I've become very partial to white pepper.)
  • 3 tbsps lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed (One clove. Ha! I used three)
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire (Another of my faves, simply because I love to say woostercestershistershire sauce)
  • 1/4 tsp Tobasco (I didn't have this)
  • 2 cups heavy cream (Courage, my friends, courage!!)
  • 3 egg yolks (Stay with me!!)

Have you had your lipitor today? Good. Let's proceed.

Wash broccoli, trim and dry. Reserve a few florets for topping; blanch them separately in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then drain and set aside.

In a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, combine milk, chicken broth, salt, pepper, garlic clove(s), Worcestershire and tobasco. You're simply doing this so that you don't add cold liquids to your hot broccoli later.

In your soup pot, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat, add broccoli and cook until tender (meaning you can mash it easily with the side of your wooden spoon). Sprinkle flour over broccoli and stir well until coated. Add liquids from saucepan to soup pot, plus the lemon juice. Stir constantly until smooth and thick.

Remove from burner and either in batches in a blender, or with an immersion blender (that your darling seester gave you for Christmas) puree soup until smooth. Return soup to medium heat. Stir in the heavy cream and I admit, I balked again, and stirred in only 1 cup of it, not the given 2.

Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl. Slowly whisk about 1/2 cup of soup into the yolks to temper them. Then whisk egg mixture back into the soup.

Taste and adjust with salt if needed. Serve topped with the broccoli florets and pierogies on the side.

Oh, have I talked about pierogies yet? I haven't? Oh wow, put these babies in the same category as scrambled eggs. They are in my house at all times.  When the kids and I are eating alone, I'll make an entire box and serve them with a vegetable and that's dinner. Done and done. They are the bomb.

So the soup was also the bomb. Rich and creamy and decadent. Disturbingly decadent. I mean, something was really wrong about the soup but I couldn't put my finger on it. And then later, it came to me as I was thinking about the ingredients:

Egg yolks...

Olive oil...

Lemon juice...

Yes, my friends. We basically ate mayonnaise.

[Editor's Note: Immediately following Mary Gubser's recipe for cream of broccoli soup is her recipe for Boula Boula. One of the ingredients is, and I quote, "4 cups canned, clear turtle bouillon." I will make dinner of choice for anyone who can find me canned, clear turtle bouillon]

Broccoli Bites

I confess I squealed like a little girl when I saw these on Stacey Snacks.  I was planning to make carrot soup for dinner and needed something to go on the side.  Not only did Stacey have these, but she had also posted a recipe for chickpea and carrot soup.  It seemed like fate.  Or a girl crush.  Or a combination thereof.

Cheesy Broccoli Bites

  • 16 oz. package of frozen chopped broccoli, thawed (I already had some steamed broccoli left over from last night's dinner. I chopped that up and then supplemented with 3 crowns of fresh broccoli, chopped and blanched for 3-4 minutes. No matter what you're using, drain well to get rid of excess liquid)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (Fresh or bagged, your choice, I had a bagged blend of cheddar and monterey jack. I imagine mozzarella would be yummy)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of seasoned Italian breadcrumbs

Jeeps came to play in the kitchen tonight, which I love. The bites were being made at the same time as the soup. It turned into this ballet of passing the camera back and forth, or calling "Quick, I need both hands, take a picture!"

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. It was real sweet how hard Jeeps worked to compose the shot so that it came out exactly the way Stacey's photograph looked.

In the end we had to add another egg to the mixture. These things happen.

With your hands, form small patties and lay on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Small patties.  1-2 inches tops. We made some too-big ones which did not brown up as well.  

If you're wondering, Jeeps has that squeamish expression because he doesn't like touching raw eggs. His side of the family has an inborn streak of germophobia. Me, I'm not afraid, just wash your hands. I don't believe in antibacterial this, that and the other. Plain old soap and hot water was good enough for my mother and her mother and her mother, it's good enough for me.


Oh stop making that face, those are organic eggs!

Bake at 375 for 15 minutes, flip patties, bake another 10 minutes. The too-large ones had to go back in another five minutes each side.


Stacey and the Roasted Broccoli

Get used to the name Stacey. She is Stacey of StaceySnacksOnline. Her amazing food blog upped my cooking game like nothing else. I had no idea you could do so much with cauliflower, but suddenly I was buying a head every other week and roasting it with red onions and grapes (click it, try it, it's insane). Everything I have made from her blog has been easy and delicious. No strikeouts. So click here for her recipe for roasted shrimp and broccoli. Roasted broccoli, have you tried it? It's killer. Stacey said she made it once for her husband and thereafter he wanted it no other way. I made it once for JP and now we're both addicted. I served the shrimp and broccoli over coconut rice and it was fantastic.


The very next night, JP asked for roasted broccoli again. So I made it but this time tried it with salmon. We get great boneless salmon steaks from Horizon Foods and I usually broil them and often for too long, resulting in somewhat dry salmon. This time, in following the recipe, the broccoli roasted first for 10 minutes at 425. Then I put the salmon on the hot baking sheet and put it in the oven for five minutes. Perfection. Perfectly perfect salmon, I was so happy. I tried the technique again to make sure it wasn't a fluke but no, it works perfectly. So regardless of the vegetable, here's how salmon goes down at our house:

Preheat oven to 425 with the baking sheet in the oven

Drizzle salmon steaks or fillets with olive oil, brown sugar and dill.

When oven reaches 425, take out tray, put salmon on it, and put back in the oven for 5 minutes.